Updated: Mar 19
"It is in the darkest of times that light shines the brightest," is all I kept telling myself as a foot and a half of snow fell down from the sky, our ewe had signs of ketosis with labor imminent, and a state of emergency was announced declaring all roads impassable, closed, and no help in sight.
It is in times like these that plans change rapidly to save the lives of both lambs and ewe.
"All the darkness in the world cannot extinguish the light of a single candle"
With temperatures plummeting into the negatives during the blizzard we knew that Hope's lambs would never make it in the barn during the storm despite all the added barn cameras and heat lamps for warmth, so we did what anyone one do.... and brought Hope inside where it's warm. My husband quickly made a lambing pen in our mudroom, started a warm fire, and added a futon for us to sleep and be near her all night.
Within an hour of bringing her inside, Hope began showing signs of labor. It was as if she was waiting to be in the right environment to have her lambs and keep them safe, but we weren't out of the woods just yet. Thirty minutes after her water broke we still didn't see any signs of her progressing, which meant it was time to go in and check.
When a birth stops progressing it means that a lamb is either in distress, mispositioned, overly large, stillborn, or the ewe is exhausted and needs assistance. Hope needed our help so we jumped into action by pulling her first lamb. But something wasn't right... the lamb wasn't breathing. It took 5 minutes of praying, rubbing, suctioning, clearing airways, and sticking straw up her nose to enable a natural reflex to occur causing her to try to take her first breath. And then, the breath of life filled her lungs and we knew she would be ok.